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DreamWorks, bucking Hollywood trend, to make more movies

May 28, 2009 | 12:26 pm


In the face of tough economic times, most Hollywood studios are paring back the number of movies they make each year, but apparently DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. didn't get the memo.

The Glendale-based animation studio announced this morning that it plans to make an additional film every other year, boosting its biannual output to five from four.

The studio's computer-animated films, all of which will be produced in 3-D, take about 4 1/2 years to make and cost about $160 million each, the company has said previously.

DreamWorks has invested heavily in expanding its production capabilities and has developed a more consistent track record in recent years with films such as "Madagascar" and "Kung Fu Panda," addressing concerns among investors about the company's roller-coaster results: Up when it has a hit, down when it misses. 

"Having achieved a high level of success and consistency in our creative process and having in our development pipeline more great story concepts than ever, we are very confident in our ability to add one original film every other year,'' Bill Damaschke, co-president of production, said in a statement.

DreamWorks said it will release eight feature films through 2012, including five original films and three sequels based on its franchises "Shrek" "Madagascar" and "Kung Fu Panda." 

The upcoming movies include "How to Train Your Dragon," which is based on the book by Cressida Cowell and directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois; "Puss-In-Boots,"  in which Antonio Banderas reprises his popular character from the "Shrek" films; and "The Guardians," about unlikely heroes who band together to stop an ancient spirit from plunging the world into eternal darkness.

The announcement, delivered during a media conference hosted by Cowen & Co., was clearly aimed at Wall Street, which reacted favorably. DreamWorks shares were up 10 cents to $27.21 in midafternoon trading.

— Richard Verrier

Photo: Puss-In-Boots lays on the charm in "Shrek the Third" / DreamWorks Animation